A group of Jewish Google employees is calling on the company to increase its support of Palestinians amid Israel’s deadly bombing campaign in Gaza. The conflict started with Israel’s attempt to evict Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, and escalated when militants fired rockets toward Jerusalem and Israel responded with airstrikes.
In an internal letter, Google workers ask CEO Sundar Pichai to put out a statement condemning the attacks, including “direct recognition of the harm done to Palestinians by Israeli military and gang violence.” The letter currently has 250 signatures. (An external version of the note can be found here).
The request is coming from a new employee resource group which formed last year in response to pro-Zionist sentiment within “Jewglers” — Google’s official Jewish ERG. While Jewglers has tried to be apolitical, two current workers say it has supported pro-Israel discussions and is not a safe space to express anti-Zionist beliefs.
This rift led to the formation of the Jewish Diaspora in Tech — a group of Jewish anti-nationalists within Google. “We were compelled to form our own space because of the fact that we were quite literally not allowed to express our viewpoints in the ERG,” says a product marketing manager in the group.
Now, members of the new organization are calling on Google to support freedom of expression internally — particularly around anti-Zionist viewpoints. “Google is the world’s largest search engine and any repression of freedom of expression occurring within the company is a danger not only to Googlers internally but to all people around the world,” they wrote in an FAQ.
They also want Google to terminate any business contracts which support “Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights, such as the Israeli Defense Forces.”
Members of the group say they were inspired to write the letter after Jewglers failed to put out a statement condemning the violence against Palestinians. One worker told The Verge that people in the group were promoting pro-Israel funding opportunities.